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Automated Centrelink a fast track to Turnbull's demise

24 January 2017
SMH

The many leaks from appalled Centrelink staff suggest they've been discouraged from correcting obvious errors before the machine-generated demands are sent out, and discouraged from helping people in person, rather than just telling them to use the website.
It's clear this is a fishing expedition. You make what you know may often be erroneous claims for repayment, shift the onus of proof onto people with few records or resources, give them a scare, then sit back and see how much you rake in.

Centrelink debt debacle is bad policy for mental health

24 January 2017
The Conversation

The debt recovery system could hardly have been better designed to create conditions that cause chronic stress.
Its approach has potentially serious consequences. UK research shows when government policies placed new and onerous demands on people receiving welfare payments this led to an increase in mental health problems, and in suicides.
If this debt recovery program continues, it is quite possible we may see similar, adverse effects on people’s health in Australia. As such, the government should suspend the program and rethink its approach.

Australians disapprove of Tudge's Centrelink robo-debt mess

24 January 2017
The Hon Linda Burney MP, Shadow Minister for Human Services, ALP Member for Barton

Malcolm Turnbull must show some leadership and suspend his Government’s robo-debt mess with nearly half of all Australians disapproving of the scandal-plagued system.
Incompetent Human Services Minister Alan Tudge believes that those falsely accused of owing debt should have to hand over the money until they prove their own innocence but he reckons that Liberal MPs caught rorting the system should be given the benefit of the doubt.

Nice try Hank, but DHS staff not to blame

24 January 2017
Community & Public Sector Union

Last week DHS spokesperson, Hank Jongen sought to blame staff for the community’s widespread resistance to and frustration with the online compliance system. This is massive spin, even for Hank. The irony here being that if frontline staff had had input into the design of the troubled online compliance system it wouldn’t be generating erroneous debts.

Centrelink cooking the books on violence against public servants, union says

23 January 2017
Canberra Times

Centrelink says more than 8600 reports of customer aggression towards its staff last financial year is an improvement, but its main workplace union says the welfare agency is hiding the extent of the problem.
The agency's bosses insist the workplace safety situation is improving but the union says plummeting customer service standards are driving high levels of verbal and physical aggression towards frontline Centrelink workers.

The Centrelink robo-debt debacle has only just begun

23 January 2017
Independent Australia

Knowing that the Turnbull Government isn't finished with its five-seven year WPIT plan should send a shiver down our spines.
[...]
In the 2015-16 budget, the Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation (WPIT) program was announced as the replacement for [the Income Security Integrated System (ISIS), set up in 1983 to oversee welfare payment deliveries, customer service, support and compliance activities for Centrelink]. The 2015-16 budget measure worth $60.5m is part of a $1.5 billion, seven-year program. The program was described by the Government as one of the world’s largest social welfare ICT transformations.

Centrelink staff ordered to ignore errors in automated debt notices

20 January 2017
The Hon Linda Burney MP, Shadow Minister for Human Services, ALP Member for Barton

The Turnbull Government must immediately suspend the Centrelink robo-debt debacle following more disturbing claims from a Centrelink whistleblower.
According to reports Centrelink assessors are being directed to ignore obvious errors in the calculation of debt, unless customers directly object.

Response to further claims about online compliance activity

19 January 2017
Australian Government Department of Human Services Media Hub

Claims made today about the Department of Human Services’ online compliance activity do not accurately represent how the system works.
General Manager Hank Jongen said the system was designed to identify differences between Australian Taxation Office and Centrelink payment records, and was performing the task as intended.
[...]
“We will continue to work with staff to explain how the system operates and the role they play.”

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